Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Importance of Shoes - A Brief Tutorial

I'm sure most people reading this blog are at least aware of the new barefoot running movement, catapulted to the mainstream by Christopher McDougall's book "Born to Run", about a tribe of barefooters in Mexico. What is most compelling, and encouraging, about this resurgence of interest in running is an equally prominent rise in awareness of proper footwear. And, while much of this will probably be review for ya'll, I'd like to take a moment and plug good footwear and why it's so important.

Our bodies are incredible structures. Women are beautiful, men are hunky, and babies smell good. But moreover, many parts of our anatomy have undergone significant evolution to be IDEAL in performing their roles throughout the course of our lives. Let's hone in on the foot:Now, look at the "arch" of the foot. The calcaneus bone (your heel) provides the rear anchor point and your phalanges (toes) flexibly provide the front. In between are no less than three articulations (joints) which can flex and stabilize throughout movement. Just like a bridge, the foot is meant to take the load in the middle of its structure, and to then dissipate that load across the length of the sole.

Now, take a look at many popular shoes, especially the lesser brands of sport shoes. There is a tremendous amount of foam and cushion in the rear of the foot, which encourages (or numbs) the striking of the foot at the heel. Similarly, the midfoot portion of these shoes often has a large degree of dense foam to absorb any amount of lateral movement, known as eversion or inversion (or pronation/supination). The danger of these highly padded areas arises by eliminating your body's line of communication from the foot to the brain. Just as an ungloved hand can more precisely determine the shape, feel, and temperature of an object than a gloved hand, an unshod foot is more adept at identifying the surface it trods upon.

Now, this is not to say you all should become barefoot runners. Much technique and patience is required to deftly and, in an injury-free manner, run barefoot for any length of time. But what we are emphasizing is utilizing footwear which COMPLEMENTS your foot's actions, rather than dull it. This means (in general) less of the cushioned and "motion control" styles, and more of the "neutral" conformation.

**Important note**: These recommendations should be paired with careful consideration and perhaps even consultation with a physical therapist or running coach. Improper technique combined with low-profile footwear can indeed result in injury, just as slicing tomatoes with a sharp knife and no technique can result in loss of digits.

We of Methow Endurance are firm endorsers of Scott Footwear. The running line of shoes in this US-born company are predominantly neutral, with appropriate and accurately-placed foam portions along the sole of the foot. Their T2C model (shown below) is a great road running model; we use it for our mid-distance runs on pavement and hard-packed dirt, and for recovery runs. The E-Ride Grip is a phenomenal trail shoe, with a specially-designed "e-ride" structure which encourages proper foot strike while keeping the sole closer to the ground for better technique. Explore these shoes and other models at Scott Shoes' website.
Scott's T2C (above; men's version shown)
Scott's E-Ride Grip (men's version shown)

Feel free to contact Methow Endurance with any questions you have about footwear and technique, and be sure to sign up for either our seasonal clinic on running at Winthrop Physical Therapy, or for one of our specialty weekend camps this May (women only) or June (both genders!).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Run with Ease!

Join me in learning to run more relaxed and minimize injury. Working in conjunction with your body's natural inclinations, I will show you through technique work, video analysis, running specific drills, and core strength, how to bring more ease to this lifelong sport.  This is NOT a fast run group. No prior running experience is needed to gain from this. All levels are encouraged to join, though to maximize personal attention and ensure proper form, class size is limited to 12.

Classes will be held at Winthrop Fitness on the following Mondays: April 16, 23, and 30 from 5:30-6:30pm. The cost is $45 for all three classes. Call Winthrop Fitness to sign up: 509. 996. 8234.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Welcome to Methow Endurance! Here on this website we aim to keep you informed on all our camps, clinics and events as they happy through the year. Stay tuned here and on our Facebook page ( for the latest updates!